Monday, September 29, 2008


Hope you enjoyed the debate last night and are having a happy birthday! We went over to the new Antioch/McGregor building and set up a stream from the computer so we could watch the debate on the large screen in the auditorium. We had another family join us, some popcorn and lemonade. It was fun, and the debate was interesting. I hope Obama will be more prepared stand up to McCain's condescension in the next debate, but I do think he is articulate and intelligent.

Love, Dione


Uncle Bill,

I just wanted to personally thank you for keeping up the blog. I truly enjoy reading it and keeping up with family issues. I hadn't heard that Susie got a new job, so that was really exciting!

Life here in Billings is good. The leaves are starting to change color. Fall is such a beautiful time of year here in Montana. Terry and I are getting ready to go on vacation the week of October 12-17. We're heading for Leavenworth, Washington, to attend the OctoberFest there and to take in the area. Terry's brother and his wife will join us. We're looking forward to seeing the fall foilage in Washington as well.

Our kids are both doing very well. Michelle left Maurices after serving as their manager for 5 years. She now works in advertising layout for the local Miles City Star newspaper, and she just loves it! She has weekends off and can now enjoy her family more. My son Ryan, works for Mid-Rivers Communications and was on the cover of their website recently. He also has his own 'billboard' (a picture of him working at Midrivers was posted on a billboard in Miles City). He's gotten a lot of razzing from friends for being on a billboard, but we think it's pretty cool! (picture attached).

I'm in my last year of federal service and can retire next year after serving 34 years. Depending on finances, I hope to be able to do so in January, 2010, but will have to wait and see if I can afford it. I will probably continue to work part time doing something outside the federal government, and look forward to doing something totally different.

God bless and thanks again for overseeing the Blog.

Charlie Gunther

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The photo of Marie and me was taken yesterday morning at the Westin Hotel outdoor restaurant, near our house--where Marie treated me to a 74th birthday breakfast. It was a good day all around, ending with a very nice outing in the evening, including Jazz music, and a wedding reception, for entertainment.


We have been watching anxiously for the completion of the so-called "bailout" of the financial institutions that supply us, and the nation, with credit. The congressional participants were just on TV announcing the agreement that is to be voted on tomorrow in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Hopefully, it will help to loosen up the credit market so houses can be sold or purchased!


The Presidential debate was more entertaining than the congressional marathon to reach agreement, and we thought immediately after it was over that it was probably a "draw." However, the surveys done afterward seem to suggest that Obama was viewed as the winner. That is fine with us! We now look forward to the Vice Presidental candidate debate on Thursday, October 2!


I sent many of you attached-to-email copies of pages for the family album that we are creating from all the photos collected over the years. Rather than wait until the full set of pages is finished months from now, I want to share "special" album pages with you that might be of particular interest. The responses to the first e-mail attachments indicate that some of you can open them and some can't. I am now converting them to an older MS Word version, since our 2007 Word does not seem to work for most folks. I'll be trying again to send pages to some of you soon to see if the new approach works.


Susan has a new job with the Mayo Clinic (one of the 100 best employers in the country!), located south of their home at Bloomington. She had to wait a bit to start because she needed approval of her psychology license from the State. That is now accomplished, fortunately! The new position enables them to remain where they live, and Harvey can continue with his job.

Marilyn and Issy just returned from a trip to visit Susan, Harvey, and Brady in Bloomington, as well as Carol and Jennifer in Oriska, Dan in Jamestown, and Lila in Bismarck. All were doing well. Carol has closed her restaurant business and is preparing to sell it. Jennifer is in her senior year of high school (hard to believe!) and will graduate in May. Dan is enjoying his new job. Lila is doing really well, and would like to move back to her apartment rather than stay in the Baptist Home!


Dad says he is doing just fine, and continues to enjoy regular visits from Abby--who is now chattering steadily. He misses the tall cornfield in front of his house, and says it looks kind of drab and brown out there now that the field has been tilled for next spring's planting. He keeps his exercise up with walks to the mailbox and around the area.

Beet harvest will start next week, and will of course be all-consuming until the beets are all in the piles ready for the factory. Mavis was in Billings this weekend for a sewing conference, but we haven't heard yet how many prizes she or Lana won!


Bill and Marie

Thursday, September 18, 2008


We received a call from Dione, after having tried to reach her, Saul, and Mollie for several days. They have been through "hell" after winds from hurricane Ike hit the area with a vengence. They were without power for several days, and had a limited water supply because the water pumps were also knocked out. A huge tree in their yard was knocked down, along with hundreds of branches (they will have firewood for years!). It is the worst disaster to hit that part of Ohio that people can remember.

Phones are still out, but power has been restored in some places, including their house. There was no school for two and one-half days earlier this week, but they went back for half a day yesterday, and are fully at work today. They had to rely on battery-operated radios for communication. Fortunately, cell phones work now that they can charge the batteries. Grocery stores lost huge amounts of food; gas stations couldn't operate because they had no power. Gas prices shot up 40 cents/gallon in two days.

Many of the electric repair crews in the area had gone to Texas to help restore power there, so were not available to work in Ohio for a few days. There was no damage to Dione and Saul's house, but many people had trees on top of their homes, and lots of wind damage.

They have been helping out their neighbors with meals and other support, since their damage was not as bad as lots of folks. The small town neighborliness was apparently quite evident, with lots of mutual support.


No storms in Tucson though! All is well here, as we shift from writing memoirs to doing photo albums! Many of you have received e-mails with attached album pages, with a request to let me know if you can, or cannot, open the pages. I have so far discovered that most people cannot open Power Point files, or the newer version of MS Word. I am now trying an older version of word, but have not yet had any feedback. Looking foward to hearing from you!


Bill and Marie

Sunday, September 07, 2008


We talked to Dad, Lila, and Mavis, and got an e-mail from Marilyn, in the last couple of days, and got good news! Dad is doing fine, he says, and is looking forward to the corn harvest in the field right in front of his house. The crops were not so good, but some were better than expected. He could see a "workover" rig at the oil well up in his pasture, and thought they might be drilling a new well! However, Mavis says that is not the case.

Lila is also doing well, and would like to move back to her apartment from the nursing home! She says she is a little bored because none of the residents of the home are capable of playing cards, which she would like to do. She has been watching the political conventions and enjoyed them. Dad, Mavis, and Ron were down to visit here a few days ago, and took her out for dinner. Cindy and the kids went to Cartwright over Labor Day, and had a ball, including a trip out to the sand bar in the river.

Mavis indicated that most of the grain has been harvested, and yields were much lower than average on wheat and barley. It is hard to tell how the beets will do, but they are not likely to be terrific because of the dry spring and late start. There is nothing new on the oil drilling, and no rigs are working in the immediate area now. Rhonda Lassey is going to help Dad out a couple of days per week. Trista was helping, but has gone back to nursing school full-time.

Marilyn says she had a couple of her townhouses in Williston re-sided last month. That should make them look nicer. She and Issy have been watching the political conventions (as we did!) and wasn't too impressed with Governor Palin. We have been reading a lot about her record in Alaska, and some of it is not very complementary. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

As noted below, we sent our manuscript off this afternoon to the publisher via electronic transmission. The photo of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park will be on the front cover, and the saguaro photo from Saguaro National Park will be on the back cover. We have been working week days and weekends for the past month finishing and editing. Lotza work, but hopefully worthwhile!


Bill and Marie


Our memoirs went off to the publisher this afternoon via electronic transmission—all 300 pages! The introduction that follows will give you some idea of the content. If all goes well we should have the books available in about two months! It is a great relief to have a product after three and one-half years (with some major breaks, of course) of work.


    Our goal in writing this treasure trove of memories was to describe and interpret our experiences at each life stage, while reflecting on the meaning of our heritage as well as major events in our lives. We were also interested in revisiting and examining decisions that have enabled us to pursue our aspirations, focusing as well on our philosophies, values, successes, and occasional failures.

We have organized the chapters sequentially from our births in1934 (we were born in the same year and same month!), followed by narratives describing our childhood, education, professional experiences, and retirement. Each chapter covers a specific time period, and includes two distinct sections (Bill's/Marie's)—until we were married in 1973. The personal and family side of each chapter is jointly written, although each of us describes and interprets our separate family and professional experiences. After retirement each chapter was a joint effort.

Although we grew up at near opposite ends of the country (North Dakota and Georgia), we had remarkably similar childhood experiences. We each lived on small farms, went to relatively small rural elementary and secondary schools, did well in our classes and in school activities, and graduated from high school with honors. Although we followed quite different paths immediately after high school, we both eventually achieved doctoral degrees and became college professors. We were each the first in our families to achieve university degrees.

    We are both especially proud of our education. We liked to learn from the very beginning of our lives, and wanted to have the formal education that would provide a satisfying lifestyle, professional achievement, and a good income. We both aspired to college while in high school. However, Marie was not able to realize that goal immediately, as Bill did. Instead she got married, had three children, worked, and went to college intermittently until somewhat later in life, when she was able to complete her undergraduate degree, master's degree, and Ph.D. She started her first full-time college teaching job at age 36. Bill went directly to college, completing his undergraduate degree in four years. After one year as an exchange student, and two years in the army (during which he got married and had a first child), he completed his master's and Ph.D. before taking a full-time university teaching job at age 28.

    A chance encounter in Grand Teton National Park when we were both 37 had a profound consequence. We discovered many common interests and found ourselves immensely attracted to each other, eventually concluding that we wanted to redirect our lives so that we could be together. We moved to the State of Washington where we were married in 1973, eventually had jobs at two neighboring universities, and have happily collaborated since then on innumerable personal and academic endeavors.

    Our common interests have generated a storehouse of wonderful experiences, including co-authorship of six books. We have also published dozens of articles together, have traveled to most states in this country on personal and professional trips (often tent-camping in the early years, and later traveling in one of five recreational vehicles), and have temporarily lived, and taught university classes, in six countries of Asia and Europe. Many of our trips have been to visit one or more of our five children and their families, scattered across four northern states from Washington to Ohio.

Our first visit to Tucson was in July, 1987, when we were initially impressed with the area as a potentially interesting place to visit during the winter, because it was so hot in the summer! We enjoyed several winters here sufficiently that we finally adopted it as our permanent and satisfying home, after learning to adjust to summer heat!


Since full retirement in 1999, we have continued to enjoy mobile and stimulating lives, traveling much of each year by motorhome, while writing books. Preparing these memoirs has enabled us to think deeply about the interesting and exciting details of our journey through life. Most of the trek has been exceedingly rewarding and satisfying. We are genuinely pleased with our lifestyle, and feel that we have achieved most of our life goals. Now, at age 74, we have every intention of continuing to pursue active and productive lives as long as we can continue to navigate!